I'm sure you fat people are next,the lifestyle police are out in force
This country is going to and it is only going to get worse with national healthcare.
SARASOTA — Citing the burden they place on taxpayers who pay for government workers' health insurance, Sarasota County officials announced Monday that they no longer will hire smokers.
In Florida, the right not to hire employees who smoke was upheld in 1995 by the state Supreme Court after a prospective employee sued North Miami.
Sarasota County officials cited Centers for Disease Control research that put the annual cost of hiring a smoker at $3,400 a year in lost productivity and medical expenses.
The policy makes Sarasota County the first county in Southwest Florida to make smoking a hiring issue. Charlotte and Manatee counties do not, though Manatee has policies designed to discourage employees from smoking.
Sarasota County Administrator Jim Ley said the hiring ban came out of "a five- or six-year strategy to produce a healthier work force and manage our long-term health care costs."
The county currently pays about $31 million annually in health benefits for 3,600 employees, or $8,600 per worker.
Ley said not hiring smokers should help limit the annual growth in health care costs, the most expensive perk offered to county employees.
New hires will be asked to submit to a drug test that detects nicotine and sign a pledge promising they have not smoked in the last 12 months. Existing employees will not be affected, but they are encouraged to take advantage of free programs to help them quit.
In Florida, the right not to hire employees who smoke was upheld by a 1995 ruling of the state Supreme Court.
A job applicant sued the city of North Miami arguing that an anti-smoker policy violated her privacy.
The city argued that each smoker cost taxpayers $4,611 (in 1981 dollars) annually because of medical bills.
Some companies even extend the smoking prohibition to spouses of prospective employees.
Ley said 15 percent of the county's employees with severe illnesses account for 85 percent of the health care costs.